Cash Just Kept On Piling Up, But It Looks Like The Spending Has Started

Cash and equivalent, an item that is always near and dear to my heart, for the S&P old Industrials, which is the S&P 500 less Financials, Utilities, and Transportation issues, is running 9.8% ahead of the record setting second quarter value of $773 billion. Information Technology, lead by Oracle which increased $7.9 billion in the quarter, Microsoft which added another $3.6 billion, and Google which has $2.6 billion more, as a sector now has over 13% of it’s market value sitting in cash, which can’t be making much money, and the sector account for 35% of all the cash in the Industrials. Health Care, lead by Merck’s additional $5.2 billion, UnitedHealth’s $2.3 billion gain and Amgen’s $2 billion increase, now has over 17% of it’s market value in cash, and accounts for 28% of the cash. Nine of the ten sectors are up, with Energy being flat, which since Exxon has $3.1 billion less in cash this quarter, but trust me I wouldn’t be passing the plate around for them at this point, means that the rest of the Energy sector was up. Overall, 67% of the issues increased their cash position in the third quarter, mostly due to cost cutting, lower dividends and much lower buybacks, although both dividends and buybacks do appear to have hit the bottom, with dividends actually turning the corner. The cash build up has been occurring over the last year, as companies pulled back after the Lehman credit crunch to insure their own ability to finance their business, and ride their way through the recession.

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